Association apocalypse: Navigating a changing landscape for future success

  • The operating landscape for associations is rapidly changing.
  • To survive, associations must fundamentally transform their business models, membership structures and component frameworks.
  • Strategy will only be successful if strong operational enablers are in place.

Apocalypse image

When I first started working in associations 25 years ago franking machines were common in offices, my CEO thought websites were a ‘passing fad’, Google didn’t exist, membership fees were paid by cheque, cameras needed film, dial-up modems made a loud noise, and I was genuinely excited when our office bought a new fax machine.

It was only 15 years ago that MySpace was popular, (Facebook wasn’t public until 2006), social media was unknown, Blackberry phones dominated, digital cameras were cool, and I thought it was awesome that so many more members were paying by credit card.

It was only ten years ago that the iPhone started to change the way we interact with the world, Twitter rose to popularity, and our daily lives started to become inextricably entwined with the internet. 

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